Girl Power! Yes, that’s right. You’ve heard it all before. You’ve heard as to how girls find it so hard to express themselves, gain respect, and get themselves heard in a male dominated industry. Well, for a videogames commentator who goes by the name of Nintendo Fangirl, that isn’t the case at all.
Utilising the democratising power of the web, Nintendo Fangirl (real name: Samantha O’Neill) has been making video blogs for the last four years, to steadily become an emerging gaming voice, and an inspiration for gamers who don’t necessarily have the confidence to speak up and get themselves heard. It is for this reason that I decided to interview the emerging star, and to find out as to what drew her to post up her opinions in a highly contested field, and on the web.
First of all, let me just say that you’re not like a stereotypical gamer at all – as in that you’re attractive, intelligent, and a highly articulate GIRL who happens to know a LOT about the games industry. Can you tell us as to what got you into games, and how long you’ve been an avid gamer for?
Well, I’ve been a gamer my entire life. For as long as I’ve been alive, there’s been a game system in the house. From the NES to the SNES and Genesis and beyond, I really grew up on video games. It wasn’t until I got an N64 that I was really hooked though.
What was the inspiration behind branding yourself as ‘Nintendo Fangirl’?
The systems I grew up on were majorly the NES, SNES, and N64. For that reason, I had a major fixation with Nintendo as a company. For a while, I really was a ‘fangirl’ in that I refused to even try other systems or give them a chance. I learned a long time ago to be more open-minded, but my love for Nintendo sticks around.
Why have you opted to create video-blogging content (VLogging), as opposed to focusing on other forms of content creation – such as a traditional blog, or podcast?
When I started making videos, the intent wasn’t vlogging. I tended to rant a lot about games in general when I was younger on various online communities, and at some point I decided to just rant via videos. Somewhere along the line that turned into vlogging.
What sort of prep-work do you do, and what are the processes behind creating your own video-blog?
I try to make videos that are relevant to current gaming news that interests me. If it’s something I’m not personally interested in, odds are I haven’t done enough research to make a video on it. I don’t have a script or notes, I just turn on my camera, capture about 10 minutes of me talking about something, and then edit it down to the good stuff afterwards. I’m no actress, scripting my videos would probably turn out terrible.
What sort of equipment and editing software do you use?
Up until recently I used my computer webcam for all my videos! Now I have a Flipcam Ultra HD and I edit in either iMovie or Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 depending on how much editing I have to do.
How would you describe yourself to someone who has never heard of you?
I’d say I’m a pretty average person with an extreme passion for gaming and the games industry.
What do you think distinguishes you from other video commentators and gaming analysts, and what would you say is the secret behind your popularity?
I honestly don’t know why I’m as popular as I am. People say it’s because I’m a girl, and they’re probably right (as much as I hate to admit it). I like to think it has something to do with the balance I have between being fun and being informative.
In what ways do you think being an outspoken female has affected your ability to be taken seriously and to attain credibilty in the games community?
Oh, my lack of a penis changes the way I’m viewed entirely. To say that a little more appropriately, I can never be viewed as just a ‘gamer’, always as a ‘girl gamer’. Some people say I’m not credible because I only make videos for the attention, others say I’m fake altogether, some only watch me because I’m a girl and coulndn’t care less about the stuff I talk about. Being a girl sets me apart from a lot of others who do the same thing I do, and that does help me quite a bit, but it really is a good thing I have the common sense and tough skin to deal with all the ‘hate’ comments I get.
Have you ever thought about collaborating with another person, and getting a co-presenter on board?
I haven’t really put much thought into it, but it would probably be fun.
What do you think of Nintendo’s upcoming 3DS system?
I’m SUPER excited about it! The games are looking terrific so far, I just can’t wait to see the 3D effects in person.
What are your thoughts on the Kinect and Move peripherals, and how do you think these technologies will fare against Nintendo’s own motion senser Wii-Remote?
Kinect and PS Move are both awesome in their own ways conceptually. Unfortunately, Microsoft has shown a VERY disappointing library of games for Kinect’s launch, and the PS Move isn’t much better. Both peripherals are also on the expensive side. The games as of right now aren’t enough to set Kinect or Move apart from the Wii-mote, so I highly doubt either are going to sell very well when you can practically get an entire wii system for the price of just a peripheral. It’ll also lead to less developers making games for these systems and a vicious cycle of no-game-no-buyers-no-games, Ultimately, I think they might be competition for each other, but not against the Wii at all.
Why do you know so much about videogames, and how do you keep abreast of recent developments within the games industry?
Video Games and the industry in general just interest me. I belong to plenty of online video game forums and keep up on all the big gaming news sites because I like to know when new things are announced and I like to now who’s doing what and etc.
On average, how many hours a week do you spend playing videogames?
It depends on if I’ve just gotten a new game or not. I’d say as many as 20-30 (or more) if there’s a game I’ve just gotten into, and as little as 5 if there’s nothing I’m particularly playing at the moment. As a general average, we’ll say 15.
What other hobbies and interests do you pursue outside of videogames?
I’m into cosplaying (dressing up as video game characters and going to conventions when I can.
What kind of games do you normally play?
I’d say a bit of everything, but my favorites tend to be action-adventure and RPG games. I like games that have a good story to them, depth, etc.
What would you say is your favourite game of all time and why?
This is REALLY tough for me. But I think I’m going to have to say Banjo Kazooie. I played that game to death on my N64 and I’ve been playing it over and over again recently. Banjo Kazooie is an amazing game, it’s unfortunate that Rare went on to turn it into Nuts and Bolts.
What is your favourite Nintendo console?
Nintendo 64. Hands-down.
Let’s assume that you were about to be stranded on a desert island that operated a strict Anti-Nintendo policy. Which console (not manufactured by Nintendo) would you take, and what three games would you include that were released on that platform?
Geez, what a strange island. I’d take my PS2 along with Shadow of the Colossus, Okami, and Persona 3.
What is your favourite gaming-related website and magazine?
To be honest I don’t keep up with any gaming magazines, I’ve even ditched my Nintendo Power subscription because the information in them tends to be not all too substantial. Most of the information in them is weeks old aside from a few interviews. As for the website, I keep up on a LOT of different sites. IGN, G4TV, Gamespot.. there isn’t one I really like in-particular, they all tend to get the job done.
You’ll have to forgive me for asking you this, and considering that you are so attractive, but what does a guy have to do to impress you and win your heart?
Haha, well, he’d have have an amazing gaming library for me to choose from, would have to be able to take losing well, and must accept all of my Pokemon Battle requests.
What is your favourite band?
My music tastes are pretty sporadic. They change really often, too. Right now I’m a huge fan of ‘Lady Gaga’ and ‘The Used’.
What is your favourite movie and TV series?
My favorite movie is ‘Donnie Darko’, favorite TV Series is probably ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’.
What do you enjoy eating the most, and what would you say is your favourite ice-cream?
Candy. lots and lots of candy. Don’t care how unhealthy I am. Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream with chocolate sprinkles.
Where do you see yourself in five years time, and what are your future goals and aspirations?
I’m not so sure where I’ll be in 5 years. Even if I’m doing the same thing I’m doing now, I’ll be happy! I’m not so good at looking towards the future, only at focusing on the now. I guess as far as aspirations go, I’d love to do this (talking about video games) on a larger scale. Perhaps journalism or a bigger website, or even TV! Who knows.
Finally, where can gamers find out more about you?
The most obvious way is through my youtube channel, at youtube.com/NintendoFanGirl. I also update my twitter (twitter.com/NintendoFanGirl), and I’m on the process of creating my own personal website at NintendoFanGirl.com (which unfortunately won’t be up for another month).